Sunday, April 30, 2006

Milestone reached

I'm very happy to report that I've finished every customer quilt in my possession! I've even got the back of one of my own quilts loaded on the machine. That feels so good!

I leave you with another spectacular view of Washington State - and of my very dear husband Fred. This is the view from Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park on the Olympic Penninsula. These are uplift mountains, and aren't as tall as Mt. Rainier and the other dormant volcanoes of the Cascade mountain range.



1. A beautiful blue sky with a few cotton ball clouds
2. Left over Chinese food for lunch
3. A Jamie Moyer win and an Eddie Guardado save
4. Freshly edged flower beds
5. The smell of new mown grass


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Looking forward to summer

I can't resist posting once more this morning before I get in the shower. I chose a new picture for my computer wallpaper this morning. This is the time of year that I start itching to head out to the mountains. Beautiful weather and warm sunshine will do it to me every time.

I grew up tent camping with my family, and in turn we tent camped with our kids for years. Eventually our aging bodies couldn't handle sleeping on the ground any more, so we graduated to a blow-up king size mattress. About four years ago I succeeded in talking my husband into getting a little tent trailer. It's the perfect size for the two of us - we really love it. In the winter we keep it at our son-in-law's folks place, but now is the time to retrieve it and get it ready for the summer.

This is Mount Rainier and fields of lupine (which look identical to the Texas bluebonnets that someone - maybe Patty? - posted on her blog awhile ago.) Mt. Rainier National Park is one of our favorite places. It dominates the skyline from the Puget Sound area where we grew up, and is about 3 hours away from where we live now. (Our mountains are one of the reasons we'd never live anywhere but here.) I took this picture in July 2003 at about the 6000 foot level on Skyline trail. One of the most popular routes for mountain climbers takes off from this trail.

This is the mountain from the Sunrise (east) side. The Sunrise visitor center is about 1000 feet higher than the visitor center on the Paradise (south) side of the mountain. I think we were near the 7000 foot level here, as we'd climbed a LOT on this hike from the visitor center. The mountain looks very different from this side and vegetation is also a little different as this side gets less rain.

Here is a picture of our little portable home away from home. We love this little trailer! We still cook and eat outside, but don't wake up any more with backaches and headaches from hard ground. We have a place to get in from the rain - which can come at any time here in the Pacific Northwest. Best of all, it has a port-a-potty inside! No more middle of the night trips down the road to the outhouse!

Introducing Gandalf

Someone asked about my longarm machine. It is a Proto Stitch Wizard. I did 5-6 months research and tried every machine I could find before deciding which one to buy. I chose this one because (1) the support given by the northwest dealers was incredible, (2) the price was much more reasonable that that of other machines, (3) the machine had features not available on other machines, (4) I liked the "feel" of the machine better than any other machine I tried, and (5) it was the only machine I tried that allowed me to make really round circles right away instead of square-ish round circles. It was set up on Labor Day weekend 2004 and I still am very much a beginner. It's hard finding time to practice and learn when I have a full time job. I really love the machine and have never regretted getting it. I named it Gandalf because it is a Wizard. (The wizard part of the name really refers to the stitch regulator rather than the machine itself, but I choose to ignore that fact.) It just didn't look like a Merlin, which was the only other wizard name I knew. I mentioned that to my kids, and right away they said "What about Harry Potter? Or Ron?" I couldn't believe I forgot THOSE wizard names, but they just didn't fit either.

For a long time I signed all my posts on my quilting email lists "Patti and Gandalf, the Proto Stitch Wizard". I laughed and laughed when it came out several weeks later that one list member thought Gandalf was my dog, and another one thought he was my husband!

Gandalf now seems to be as good as new. Replacing the on-off breaker switch seems to have done the trick. Apparently there was a short in the old switch which was causing a fuse to blow - the fuse for the circuit to the take-up roller lift motor. Blew 4 fuses in 3 days before we figured this out. I never realized we'd have to become so mechanical - you don't take a longarm to your local sewing machine shop! It's so good to have him back in action. I have my last customer quilt mounted, which I can easily finish this weekend. Then I hope to get a bunch of my own quilted before any more customer quilts find their way here.

Today I'm going to the outlet stores across the river with my daughter. I have a six day trip to Dallas for work coming up - I need to be at the airport at 4:00 a.m.(!) next Saturday - and there are a few things I need to get. I hate hot weather and my "business casual" wardrobe is really not suitable for that. Thank goodness for air conditioning!


1. Gandalf is feeling well again!
2. Friday Night Frenzy with my little North Star guild friends
3. Quilt guild pot luck suppers
4. An Instant Messaging chat with an online quilty friend far away
5. Big, fat, soft, chewy chocolate chunk cookies


Hmmm . . . seems like many of my gratitudes have to do with eating. Do you suppose that's why I have to go clothes shopping? Seems like there are several good pair of business casual cropped pants in my closet that no longer fit . . . .

Friday, April 28, 2006

More catching up

I've had my friend Sue's quilt on my longarm for several months. I kept putting off doing it because I wanted to work on my own projects. She told me there was "no rush at all - do it whenever I felt like it" when she gave it to me. I should always make people give me a deadline - I work well with deadlines. When there isn't a deadline I can easily procrastinate if I'd rather do something else.

It was so good to get this one finished and off the machine. This is the first time I've done all the ruler work to create the parallel lines. Straight lines are the hardest thing to do on a longarm! I had a lot of fun quilting the veins in the leaves freehanded. I used an all over design in the center called "Forest Floor". The center quilting is done with King Tut variegated thread. I love that thread - it is just beautiful. It really glows against the center fabrics. I really like how it turned out, and Sue was very pleased, I'm happy to say.

On Sunday night when I finished this quilt I loaded the back of the last customer quilt I have to do. When I was behind the machine straightening out the huge king-size back in preparation for rolling it onto the front backing roller, the machine suddenly came on. Now I know we don't have ghosts, so I wondered if I was imagining things. But no - the light turned on, the motor that lowers the take up roller started to make noise, and the take up roller dropped to jam itself against the machine. I reached around the table, shut off the machine, and moved to the front. I could move the machine at all on it's tracks - it was totally jammed under the roller. So I turned it back on to raise the roller. When I pushed the keypad to raise the roller all I got was a "click". Since then I've been on the phone daily with both my dealer in Centralia,Washington and the tech guy at the plant in North Carolina. This was a new problem for them - no one has had this happen before. I did have witnesses the second, third and fourth time the machine turned itself off and on - this was on Wednesday - or I'm sure they would have thought I was imagining it. We've been trying lots of different things and last night finally figured out what we are sure is the solution. I had no idea when I started on this longarm adventure that the repair and maintenance would be mainly up to me. This non-mechanical person, married to another non-mechanical person, has really learned a lot! Keep your fingers crossed for me that the electric switch I'm buying today gets rid of my "ghost".

Catching up

I've been doing serious rebonding with my computer. At the same time I've been troubleshooting my longarm. Guess it's just my turn these days. As I was going to bed last night I realized I'd not done a catch-up post to show you what I accomplished while I was off line.

The top two pictures are the 15+ year old New Jersey Triangle Mystery quilt. No longer a UFT - yay! Not something I'd ever make now. But I must admit I like it. I'm going to quilt it simply in an allover design, and will use it at Christmas draped across the bench in the entry way. The triangle part of the name is evident, but I wonder why the designer called it "New Jersey Triangle"?

The next quilt is my Autumn Tangled Threads friendship quilt. I've belonged to the small Tangled Threads quilting group for about 18 years now. One of the members found this wonderful fabric that looked like a bunch of tangled threads in fall colors. We all loved it, and decided to do friendship blocks using the fabric. The seventh member of the group, Peggy, is fighting ovarian cancer. The rest of us made 7 blocks each, and surprised Peggy with a full set last fall. The three tops that were done so far we in a "two rows of three" arrangement so I was determined to figure out something different. This went through several different arrangements on my design wall before I decide on this one. I really like how it turned out. My block is the pumpkin in the bottom left corner.

The next picture shows the three March blocks for the 2006 Jan Patek mystery quilt. I love these blocks - they were easy to make and the pattern is striking.

Blogger doesn't seem to want to add any more pictures to this post, so I'll do a second one for the rest.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Success at last!

I came home tonight from quilt group to find my daughter making the final tests on our computer. We are back up and running! Turns out the motherboard they sent last week WAS a dud - the one that came today did the trick. Sure feels good to be in touch with my quilty friends around the world once more. My husband laughed and said "no more sleeping in for you now!"


1. A working computer!
2. Pink strawberry cake from JaCiva's for a quilty friend's birthday
3. Tangled Threads friends
4. Excellent technical support for my longarm
5. A check to deposit into my business account for my first quilting job of the year


STILL offline!

My daughter called about 5:15 last night. I figured she was going to tell us when she was bring the computer tower. No such luck. Last week UPS left the part on their doorstep without a signature. This week they didn't! She found one of their forms saying they needed a signature in order to leave it. So hopefully it will arrive today and they will find the signed form she put on her front door. She has less time tonight to work on it, so we may or may not be back online tomorrow. I'm certainly not going to hold my breath.



1. Finally! A win for my Seattle Mariners!
2. Spring clothes in pretty Easter-egg colors
3. A balanced checkbook
4. A clean house
5. A sewing room of my own


Monday, April 24, 2006


I really enjoy reading the "meme" posts so I thought I'd play along with the latest as was suggested by a couple people. I tend to think of myself as quite normal, in a very weird sort of way!

1. I don't watch TV shows. I really don't. Except for one thing. Baseball! I used to think baseball was boring but for the past 11 years I've been a true fanatic. My family thinks I'm hysterically funny because I talk out loud (and sometimes shout) to the players. The only thing that saves my fingers from being chewed to the bone during an exciting, close game is doing handwork while I watch. I do watch DVD's however - the same favorites over and over again.

2. For an extra special treat I like to stir chocolate chips into malt-o-meal or cream of wheat. Then I add a little brown sugar and half-and-half. I started doing this when I was pregnant and craving chocolate. Those were the days when I was thin and could eat whatever I want. I hardly ever have chocolate chips in the house now - too dangerous for my expanding waistline.

3. I talk to myself out loud when I shop for groceries - taking inventory of the contents of the cupboards and refrigerator and what I need to get. I get some very strange looks from people!

4. I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. and spend an hour on the computer before I get ready for work every morning.

5. I always put a sock on my right foot and then the left, then put my shoe on the right foot before the left foot. I can't start with my left foot - it just doesn't feel right. I remember my mom did the same thing. She reacted in horror when she saw me put on my left shoe first - at least that's how my childish brain perceived it. She said it was bad luck to do that. I thought she was kidding - she was an astute, intelligent woman. I laughed and said I didn't care. Moving forward many to my adult middle years - one morning it suddenly occurred to me that I was doing exactly the same thing - without even realizing it!

6. My idea of the perfect vacation is staying home.

A new week

We had a beautiful sunny weekend, and today is more of the same. The new motherboard arrives today, so I'm crossing my fingers that it solves the computer problems when my daughter installs it in our tower tonight.

I would have loved to have been outside in the garden this weekend, but instead I was a good girl. I quilted the customer quilt that's been on my machine for quite some time. Took almost a whole day, but it is done! I have one more customer quilt left that will go on the machine tonight. I'm really hoping for a long span of time without any customer quilts so I can get a bunch of my own tops done. By the time I finish all the tops I have ready I should feel much more capable with my machine.


1. A finished customer quilt
2. A good job that pays for my fabric habit
3. A new pedicure
4. A business casual day at work
5. Baked cheetos


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sunny Saturday

Finished another UFT. I was reading a blog where the author called a finished top a "flimsie". I like that! Abandoned another one from a class I took at least 15 years ago. It was a "Through the Year with Sunbonnet Sue" block that consisted of two fabrics stitched together to make the background and a tree trunk partly stitched on. All three fabrics were fabrics I'd not use today - not the best quality for one thing. So I tossed that block out and recycled the copy paper patterns that have since been published in book format (I have the book). That's two more off my list!


1. Loving spouses for both my children
2. Weekends
3. Starbucks on a Saturday morning with my daughter
4. New spring green leaves against a clear blue sky
5. Blooms on my out-of-sinc Thanksgiving cactus


Friday, April 21, 2006


It's lunch time at work, so I'm using some of my break for a short post. I'm a very visual person, so I have a hard time talking about quilts when I can't post pictures to go along with the discussion.

I love reading Jeanne's daily gratitudes, as well as those of others who've started following her example. I've been meaning to do the same, but keep forgetting when I'm in the middle of composing a post. So I'll make that the focus of this post - maybe that'll help me start developing the habit. It makes me think of what my mother would tell me if I had trouble going to sleep - just start counting all the things I am thankful for.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

1. Computer savvy children who can rebuild a computer from the "ground up" and solve any problems we have.
2. A loving, undemanding husband.
3. Sun streaming through my window.
4. The profusion of spring flowers everywhere.
5. My God-given talent for working with a needle and thread.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Still offline

Ah, the joy of computers. Such a love-hate relationship one can have with their computer! Just like with one's car - or so it seems to me. My daughter spent all Tuesday evening trying to get our computer to boot up after installing the new motherboard in our tower. She finally came to the conclusion that either the new motherboard is defective or that something else in the system is frying the motherboard. So she's sending this one back and has ordered a new one. The new one should be here on Monday. In the meantime I think I'll head to her house on Saturday morning so I can catch up with the outside world. I can do only so much here at work during lunch.

Looking on the bright side - which is how I try to live life - this has given me more time to stitch. You might note in my project list on the left that I've finished the Autumn Friendship Blocks top. I love how it turned out. I'll post a picture once I'm back online at home.

I've also taken out several other UFT's to work on. The New Jersey Triangle Mystery will be a set of finished blocks by the end of the evening tonight. This is a four fabric mystery I started at least 15 years ago. I've not worked with only 4 fabrics in a quilt for years and years, so it seems very boring. The blocks are to be sewn together without sashing or setting squares; I don't think I'd like how that would look. So I'm going to get out Sharon Craig's books "Setting Solutions" and "Great Sets" to figure out a more exciting way to set these 20 blocks.

I pulled out two different appliqué projects that were begun in classes I took at a Folk Art Jubilee festival in Clackamas Oregon about four years ago. One is a small wall hanging started in a class with Renée Plains. I finished prepping all the appliqué and have now started the stitching. It should work up very quickly. The second is a small quilt - "Emma's Quilt" - begun in a class with Jo Morton. This was an invisible machine appliqué class in which we learned the starch and heat resistant template method of preparing the pieces. I didn't care for the method at all. I'd done the machine applique on only one small piece. So I took that off, prepped the rest of the pieces, and put it in my handwork basket. It should work up very quickly also. I'll do the hand applique on it as soon as I finish the Renée Plains project. Both of these will eventually be quilted by hand.

I looked at a third project - "Rebecca's Baskets" - also begun in a class with Jo Morton. It consisted of one partially pieced basket block measuring about 4". It was a hand piecing class, so the remaining pieces of the block were cut and marked for hand piecing. Even though it's a wonderful little quilt I decided to abandon this project. I'd rather spend my handwork time either appliquéing or quilting. I know I'll make this quilt some day, but will machine piece it rather than handpiecing it. The fabric I tossed was less than 1/8 yard total, so I didn't feel at all guilty making this decision. It felt so good to cross another UFT off my list!

I'll catch up with everyone's blogs when I'm at my daughter's on Saturday morning. Until then I hope all my cyberfriends are happy, well, and quilting away!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Not soon enough!

Taking a short break at work for a quick post. Not having a computer at home so I can read emails and blogs is driving me nuts! Our new motherboard is due to arrive tomorrow, and our daughter says she should be able to pop it right in and we'll be as good as new. I sure hope she's right. I miss everyone so very much!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Between the time I went to work yesterday morning and the time I got home our motherboard died. I am so thankful for a computer tech in the family! My daughter took the tower home and two hours later called us with the diagnosis. We are visiting at their home tonight, so I'm dropping in long enough to let everyone know. I'll most likely be offline until we are back up and running. I could do a quick post at work, but this is a very busy time for my department so odds are against it. Besides, I can't post pictures that way. So everyone hold down the fort while I'm gone, and I'll have a lot of reading to catch up on when we get back up and running.

Monday, April 10, 2006

More pictures

I tried to be VERY good when I wrote the last posting. I purposely showed quilts that are about as far as one can get from the type of quilts I make and love. In this post I will show pictures of Patti-type quilts.

I love nine patches. I never get tired of making them or seeing them. Every one is different. I thought this was a different way of setting them to make larger four patch blocks. Almost looks like a variation of "Puss in the Corner" or "Burgoyne Surrounded". I really liked the border on this one also - more nine patch blocks set on point in between two rows of sawteeth.

These could be barns or houses. I think the maker called them barns. A flannel quilt in warm brown and gold plaids with red accents - some of my favorite colors!

I think this is a Country Threads pattern. I really love their stuff! I'm pretty sure I have this pattern somewhere in my files.

I love strippy quilts, if for no other reason than the fact that most quilters don't usually set blocks this way. This is a wonderful collection of plaid scraps. I love the appliquéd vines twisting around the stripe used for the alternate strips.

This angel quilt was done by the same person that did the Morning Glory quilt. I didn't think there was anyone else in our guild that did primitive quilts besides my friends Liz and Kathi and me. These are the first primitive quilts that have hung in our show since the last time we entered one or two. I'm almost positive this is a Jan Patek design, but the quilter has made some changes to make it her own.

This tree quilt was done by my good friend Peggy who lives in Black Butte, Oregon. This was a block of the month that she got from a quilt shop in central Oregon. I don't know whether it was from Jean Wells' shop in Sisters - it doesn't really look like something they would do. In case you aren't familiar with that shop - it's the one that's done the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show for 30 years now.

I'll call it quits for today. More quilt show photos coming later this week.

Quilt Show Pics

We have some very talented quilters in our guild. They make many types of quilts - traditional, art quilts, brightly colored quilts, original quilts, and more. We have several men in the guild, and also several young quilters below the age of 20. We have three or four who've had their work accepted into both Paducah and Houston. A few have published patterns. Quite a few teach classes. It is a large guild - 500+ members, so we have a large budget. We are able to bring in several internationally known teachers/quilters each year to present both classes and programs at the meetings. I feel very fortunate to have belonged to the guild for the past 16 years. A lot has changed since I joined, and many faces have come and gone. I recommend guild membership to all quilters. If you don't have a nearby guild, start a group. There is nothing better than sharing your love of quilting with other quilters. Isn't that why we blog?

Here are some of the pictures I took at the show. I'll post more as the days go by.

This quilt is by Barbara Shapel. Barbara's quilts are always two sided quilts. Unfortunately I guess I missed taking a picture of the other side, which is in blues. Barbara does the most remarkable thread painting on her quilts. We always hang them so both sides can be seen. Here is a link to her website where you can see her quilt gallery. Each is an original and each is more wonderful than the one before. Be sure to click on each small picture so you can see what the back of the quilt looks like.

A traditional pattern in non-traditional colors. I've always wanted to make a house quilt. One of these days I will. In the meantime I love to look at the house quilts made by others.

This quilt was made for a second grade teacher. The flowers and leaves are the handprints of her students. I thought this was a wonderfully original way to make a handprint quilt!

This is some of the most marvelous thread painting I've ever seen. Pictures can't begin to do it justice - even the close-up I took.

Just a quick post

We had a wonderful weekend with our kids, even though the baseball left a great deal to be desired. Wouldn't you know it - the team forgot how to hit and score between last week's games and the games of this past weekend. I love spending time with our kids every chance we get.

I took lots of pictures at our quilt show, but haven't gotten them off the camera and sorted and labeled. I hope to be able to do that tonight. In the meantime, here are pictures taken by another of our members. I find it really interesting comparing pictures. She didn't take pictures of some of the quilts I liked the best, and some of the quilts she photographed didn't appeal to me at all. How great it is that we can all share this love for quiltmaking, even when we all make completely different style quilts.

Friday, April 7, 2006

A very nice day!

Today was a lovely day. I took a personal day at work so I could spend a good share of the day at our quilt show. We will be out of town this weekend, so it was the only chance I had. It was a lovely show, even though there were fewer quilts than usual - about 120 I think. I took pictures of some great quilts, which I'll share in the next week or two. I sat next to the ticket table at the entry and sold guild pins. Every year we have a block contest, and the block with the most votes gets made into a pin for the following year. The blocks themselves are then made into our Opportunity Quilt for the following year. This year the money from the ticket sales will be given to support finding a cure for ovarian cancer.

I got home from the show at about 2:30, and spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the Civil War quilt top. I decided simple borders would be best after all, and had no trouble finding two fabrics in my stash. The first picture shows the finished top, and the second shows the border fabrics. I folded the finished top and added it to the stack. The third picture shows my batting storage shelves plus all my finished tops waiting to be quilted. This is where I also keep my small stash of solid colors, as I very rarely use them. Baseball season has begun, and my Mariners are supposed to once again be one of the worst teams in the league. But we may fool everyone. The season is early, but we are sitting at the top of the American League west with a record of three and one. Our kids and their spouses are heading to Seattle with us tomorrow morning - we have tickets for both tomorrow's and Sunday's games. I can hardly wait!

I'm closing with a picture of Cher from Hillsboro, Oregon, and me. She came to the quilt show and we finally got to meet. She's been on online yahoogroups quilting lists with me, and she has her own quilting blog. What fun to finally see each other in person. We're going to meet next Saturday at a quilt shop in Oregon - just for fun.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Spring pictures

Nothing quilty to write about. I've not been home long enough to sew since Sunday. And right now any sewing time I find I will need to spend doing customer quilts. One is all loaded and I've stitched in the ditch around most of the inner border. I'm totally stumped as to how to quilt most of it. I have ideas, but they are all beyond my beginner skills.

My Tangled Threads quilt group saw a marvelous play last night instead of having our regular meeting. Crowns is a story based on the book "Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats". Quoting from the book description, "photographer Michael Cunningham beautifully captures the self-expressions of women of all ages-from young glamorous women to serene but stylish grandmothers. Award-winning journalist Craig Marberry provides an intimate look at the women and their lives." The first link takes you to a summary of the story that's written so much better than I any I could write. The second link takes you to the book the play was based on. The black gospel church music sung by the cast was absolutely incredible. If you have the chance to see it be sure not to miss it.

I like to put at least one picture with every post, so I'll leave you with some photos of spring flowers that I took in our front yard at 6:30 yesterday morning before I left for work. My camera battery needed recharging, so it actually looks darker than it really was. The top photo shows our crab apple just beginning to blossom, with grape hyacinths blooming in profusion under it. The next picture is a close-up of tiny blue Grecian windflowers and new peony shoots, as well as iris leaves and other perennials. The last photo shows snow on the mountain and grape hyacinths next to the driveway. (Please ignore the grass and weeds - unfortunately the only times I've been home to work outside it's been raining.) I love spring flowers.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Spring is springing!

I love spring - it's my second most favorite season. Autumn is my favorite season - I guess I just like change. Seeing everything wake up - all the pale yellow-green new leaves and trees bursting into blossom everywhere. My front yard is now blooming with daffodils, grape hyacinth and windflowers. The tulips are ready to burst open any minute. Blossoms on our crab apple are just starting to open. Soon the cherry and apple trees will bear flowers in preparation for later fruit, and the pink dogwood will be a sight to behold. Spring colors always make me think of quilts. I want to dig out my spring colored fabrics and play to my heart's content. I need to do other things however, so I'll just leave you with pictures of two spring-like quilts I did years ago.

The other thing I love about spring is baseball! My Seattle Mariners play their first game today - I can hardly wait! I've been addicted to baseball since 1995 - before that I thought it was boring! Then the Mariners started to win. I'm not a fair weather fan - I still watch even though they aren't winning 116 games a year - but I sure hope they don't lose 90+ games like they have the last two years!

One finished project - and progress on another

Well, I discovered 5 UFO's that weren't on my list. These weren't UFO's I'd forgotten - just UFO's that I thought I'd already listed. I discovered the omission when I opened the spreadsheet for updating. So I am now the happy owner of 51 UFO's, instead of the 46 I thought I had. And all 5 of these have not reached the finished top stage, so added them to the sidebar on my blog.

I spent this week working on one of these - a Civil War sampler that began as a $5 quilt top. You probably know how that works - pay $5 for the first kit of fabric and pattern, then as long as you bring back the finished block each month you get the next month's kit for free. I had one last block that needed doing. I'd kept up nicely - but then the shop closed on Memorial day almost 2 years ago. We got our last block kit, but no sashing or border patterns or fabric. The instructor arranged for us to meet elsewhere, but charged $5 a month for the pattern and furnished no fabric. I was able to get the sashing patterns but not the border patterns. I finished the last block on Sunday night, and put them up on the wall.

Keeping in mind what Sharon Craig talks about in "Setting Solutions" and "Great Sets" - I highly recommend these books - I picked a pieced sashing and added a bunch of new colors. I chose from Civil War reproduction fabrics I've collected, but kept to brighter and more colorful choices. I finished setting the blocks together today. I wish I could remember what the borders on her two samples looked like. I know they were pieced, but that's all I remember. So I've hung this up on my design wall, hoping it will tell me what I need to do for borders. I want more than just strips of fabric.On March 23rd, I attended my second Pre-1830's medallion class. I received my second "packet", which included the rest of the fabrics for my center, my second handout, a vintage postcard, and a letter from my "dear sister". If you remember, the first month I had a letter from my "loving husband" along with some chintz and muslin he'd sent me for "the quilt I spoke of making for our bed". This time the included fabric was sent by my "sister" - scraps from making clothing for various family members. She was one of the people my husband visited on his trip, and he told her I was making a quilt for our bed. Here is a picture of my first two sets of fabrics.

Now I must decide what my center medallion will look like. I can do an elaborate broiderie perse Tree of Life with the chintzes, which would be typical of a quilt from the early 19th century. English ladies took expensive chintz imported from India, cut out whole motifs from the cloth, and arranged them in a new design using English fabric for the background. They appliqued them down with either a blind stitch or an extremely tiny buttonhole stitch. This way they stretched a single yard of chintz to it made an entire quilt. I'm tempted to do this, but would need to find a couple other fabrics, as none of my chintzes have birds and I'd want a bird in my tree. Other choices for the center include a simple variable star, a simple pinwheel, an appliquéd dahlia that looks somewhat like a multilayered Dresden plate block, or an appliqued laurel wreath. I can also choose any pieced block that would have been used in this time period. What a difficult choice! I need to examine my fabrics well, and decide which would suit them best. We have no class next month as our instructor is teaching in Paducah, Kentucky at the quilt show, so I have two months to finish my center.

We learned about "make do's" during the class this month. Since china, glassware and other items were scarce and expensive in the 19th century, they weren't thrown away when chipped or slightly broken. Instead they were turned into something else useful. Many lovers of primitive and folk art are now making and/or collecting these "make do's". Eileen (our instructor) talked about turning candlesticks into pincusions, attaching rope to handleless teapots so they could still be used, etc. We spent the rest of class creating "make do's" from either wool or silk scraps. The wool pieces became large strawberrry pincusions or simple flattened squarish pillow shaped pin cushions. The silk scraps were made into balls using a pattern from Ginny Beyer's book "Puzzle Balls". We all used short candlesticks for bases. This was lots of fun - I'm eager to make one from wool also.Here is a picture of mine, which I finished yesterday. I didn't want to stuff it with polyester fiberfill as that dulls pins. Instead I used a bunch of my daughter's curly brown hair that I've been saving for years - she has incredible hair. When she was a little girl I did it up in French braids or two pony tails. When she wanted it cut short in junior high school I saved what was cut off. I'd forgotten all about it until I cleaned out a bunch of sewing room drawers this last week. As soon as I saw the sack I knew what it was, and knew exactly why I'd been saving it. The lanolin in her hair will keep my pins sharp for years. I added a package of rabbit fur I bought for some long-forgotten project, then finished with polyfil around the base. I've put a bunch of pins in it and set it on the window sill about my featherweight. It looks so bright and colorful there!